Guest Post By: Morgan Shawe

Too often in this day and age, children spend most of their time inside the house sitting in front of the television set or playing video games. Parents generally want their children to expand their hobbies and play outdoors, but it can sometimes be difficult to come up with activities that families can do together. Here are 10 great activities that will encourage family togetherness and give your child a reason to go outside and enjoy themselves.

1. Go for a walk. This is a great way to get some exercise and spend quality time together. You can either take a walk around the area in which your house resides, or you can all take a trip to a local park or nature trail. This will give your child the opportunity to learn more about nature from someone he or she trusts most.

2. Make a sand castle. Even if you don't live on the coast, it is likely that you have local access to sand. If you live by some type of body of water, you can visit its beach and make a sand castle there. If you are land-locked, no worries! Local playgrounds generally have sandboxes that are perfect for castle-building. Just be sure to bring along some water!

3. Go swimming. Swimming is something that is fun for all ages. If the weather permits, take your child to the local pool or body of water. If the weather looks bad, scope out your local gym to see if they have an indoor pool. It's not technically a breath of fresh air, but at least it gets your kids out of the house and into a fun atmosphere. If your child doesn't already know how to swim, there is never a time like the present to teach them!

4. Take a camping trip. Camping can allow a child to become one with nature, learn new survival skills, and have some good, old-fashioned family fun. Get your kids excited about the trip by allowing them to choose snacks and help pack the car for the journey.

5. Go to a ball game. Each sporting event will be different depending on the season, but you'll be sure to have fun cheering on your favorite teams alongside your child regardless of the game. Take the time to teach your kids the rules of sports when you take a trip to a local event.

6. Play capture-the-flag. If you're outside, there will always be games to play! Capture-the-flag can provide good exercise and will teach your children the importance of team work and perseverance. Plus, it's always fun to see if your little ones can beat you in a game.

7. Plan a volunteer activity. It's great when you can give back to your community, but even better when you're spreading those ideals to future generations. Instill in your child at a young age the importance of volunteering by participating in volunteer activities together. You'll be helping them in more than one way.

8. Go stargazing. Grab a telescope, a couple of blankets, yummy snacks, and a book on astronomy. See if you can point out constellations, or make shapes of your own with the stars that you don't recognize.

9. Plan a treasure hunt. Playing pirates for a day can be really fun, no matter what age you are. Create a treasure map for your child and set up fun prizes, riddles, and—most importantly—the buried treasure.

10. Start a garden. Facilitating the life of another living organism is a really cool experience for your child to have, especially if they’re sharing it with you. Look online or talk to your local nursery for tips on growing a garden in your backyard. Your kids will love being outdoors if they have the responsibility to create plants and watch them grow!

Morgan Shawe is coach to her daughter's little league team (go MountainView Lions!) by day, and a contributing author for by night.